J. Reuben Clark Law Society

United States Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart Receives Rex E. Lee Award at Luncheon Sponsored by Washington D.C. Chapter

Every year the Washington D.C. Chapter brings together some of the best and brightest appellate advocates in the nation in honor of former United States Solicitor General Rex E. Lee. This year’s event, held on May 31, 2016 at the historic Mayflower Hotel, was no exception. The luncheon was organized by D.C. Chapter President Jonathan Jacobs and the chapter board.

David Moore, Associate Dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, spoke and introduced Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, the 2016 Recipient of the Rex E. Lee Advocacy award. Dean Moore shared a conversation he had with Justice Souter, in which the Justice named Rex Lee as one of the top oral advocates he had ever seen. Dean Moore also commented on Rex Lee’s impressive history of service to the public, the LDS church, and to his family.  

Dean Moore noted that the list of award recipients reads like a “Who’s who among the nation’s top appellate lawyers,” and indeed Mr. Stewart continues this tradition of excellent appellate advocacy and dedicated public service. A veteran advocate with over 70 Supreme Court arguments, one of Mr. Stewart’s nominees noted that he is “universally respected, not only for his splendid oral advocacy, graceful writing style, and crack intellect, but also for his fundamental human decency and unflappable demeanor.” Mr. Stewart is known for his “integrity and rigorous adherence to principle, all leveled with insight into the practicalities of government and human nature.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Stewart remarked that the current stature of the Solicitor General’s office before the Supreme Court is a reflection of the legacy created by those who previously worked in the office. Mr. Stewart noted that Rex E. Lee was the “gold standard” with a combination of legal brilliance, personal rectitude, compassion, kindness and decency. Mr. Stewart stated that it is people like Rex E. Lee and the prior award recipients that make “being an excellent government lawyer something worth aspiring to.”

During the luncheon, the Shawn Bentley Public Service Award was presented by Doug Bush to Anna Caruso and Kate Taylor. The Shawn Bentley Award is a stipend given to law students with a demonstrated willingness to explore a public service career in Washington D.C. The award is named after the memory of Shawn Bentley, a Law Society member who spent a decade working as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Following presentation of the awards, Judge Thomas Griffith of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals led a panel discussion with past Rex Lee Award winners on the art of oral advocacy. The panel consisted of D.C. Circuit judges Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millett, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth S. Brinkmann, former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, and former Assistant Solicitor General Carter G. Phillips. The panelists provided practical tips on oral advocacy, including discussing the value of oral argument from a judge’s perspective, how to handle weak points during oral argument, lessons learned from years of oral advocacy, and the biggest mistakes made during oral argument.   

By: Lindsay Reimschussel, Membership Chair, Washington D.C. Chapter


Posted: July 29, 2016